Friday, November 15, 2013

Greatness Awaits No More...

So, I'm someone who has been dealing with technology for a long time. And one of the things that I've learned about tech is to NEVER get the first version of the technology because there's always a greater chance of bugs. After all, there's only so much testing you can do in a lab, so there will always be unforeseen bugs when a new piece of tech is made available to the real world. In keeping with that I wasn't going to attempt to get a PlayStation 4 at launch. Plus, with the speed at which all the systems available for pre-order were snapped up, I didn't think there was a snowball's chance in hell of getting one without a pre-order.

I used to work at a Best Buy (BBY) and some of my co-workers still worked there. I asked about the line and was told that at 11am (that's right AM as in morning) there were already 6 people in line. I was amazed but not really surprised, I'd seen similar craziness during my tenure in retail. When I got back home from work, I thought it would be fun to see how the line was doing and if there was any real insanity going on yet. Plus, I had a $25 reward cert and I wanted to buy "Man Of Steel". So I go to BBY and I see that for this event, they split the line into two branches one for those who pre-ordered and one for those who were buying it today (or what I like to call the "Take Your Chances Line"). Which I found to be incredibly smart, and LONG overdue. But even more surprising than a good idea coming down from BBY corporate (I kid, I kid!), was that there were only about 20 people in line! (I later found out there were 18 people ahead of me.)  I went in and bought my movie, when I came out 10 min later, the line was exactly the same. I asked my roommate if I should do this after all this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, and he said go for it! So, against my better judgement, I got in line.

Those of the short lived PS Brotherhood

Now, I'm not someone who does well in crowds. I'm also not good with people in general. This is why I have a very limited number of friends. So, in addition to signing up to battle the pre-winter cold for FIVE hours, I'm also willingly signing up to stand in line with an ever increasing number of people I don't know. It was an interesting experience and a moment of great personal growth. And one that I'll NEVER do again. Seriously, if I'm considering doing another one of these midnight launches, feel free to slap some sense into me! Despite my roommates' much appreciated attempts to make the night easier (bringing me supplies, and hanging with me), it was a tough night. Not because of the people. It turned out that having a shared interest in gaming made relating to them a great deal easier to handle. No, what made it a tough night was the cold. Now it only got down to about 38-40 degrees last night, but cold has a way of digging into you and building upon itself so while the temperature didn't really change, the 5 hours of exposure to it really got to me.

My roommate's little bro and me in line.
By the end of the night, I was half frozen. However, the effort did pay off. When they started handing out ticket forms for the consoles I was WELL within the number that BBY had available for sale. Which was awesome! Then started my wait for my paycheck to deposit into my account. The doors were supposed to open at 12:01, but my paycheck has a habit of landing in my account up to 30 min after that. So, with my ticket in hand and an hour left before the doors opened, my panic started to rise. Will I get the money in time? What would happen if I didn't? Would my PS4 be given to some other lucky human Popsicle? Would my cell phone's power run out before I knew for sure if I could pay for it? Thankfully, the gaming gods were on my side. BBY, it turns out, was making the launch into a little more than a "hand me your slip, here's your system" event. So, they were letting people into the store in small groups of 3-5. With me being 19th in line, that bought me some time for the deposit to hit. I didn't get to the door of the place until about 12:10.

After 5 hours in the cold, stepping into my former workplace thawed me out with a most welcome blast of hot air (and a blast of some exceedingly loud club music), which made me suddenly aware that I had to vacate my now unfrozen bladder. I was granted permission to use the store's facilities. Since my limbs were still readjusting to not being cold, the walk there took a bit longer. I handled my business and got my legs and feet back to 80% of standard operating parameters. I made it back to the doors by about 12:15. This is where the gaming gods REALLY helped me out. See, as part of this upscale event, BBY decided to walk people through the purchase with several small presentations.

The first one was for an epic bundle: the PS4, 2 controllers, 2 games, a reward zone game membership (20% off any games purchased at BBY for 2 years!), a 1yr PlayStation Plus membership, and a 2 year Geek Squad service plan, normally $900, sold to you for the discounted price of $800. It was now 12:20 and still no deposit. So I opted to try to get a BBY credit card to finance the Epic Bundle. Just as I take my first step to start applying, my cell phone's screen refreshes and I HAVE MY PAYCHECK!!! But now, I'm stuck going through the application process. I get denied, as I knew I would, and move on to the other presentations.

These basically cover all the pieces of the Epic Bundle in a more a la carte style. I got a couple games, the PS+ membership and an extra controller. It turned out I already had the Reward Zone Game plan, so I didn't get it. I was then walked through a minor maze designed to handle a large flow of people (which they rendered unneeded because they didn't let everyone in at once) and made it to the registers. I handed off my slip the cashiers got my selected merchandise and I paid and left. It was around 1 am.  Due to a personal emergency, my roommate had been using my car, but he was there just before I went into the store and was gracious enough to drive back since I still had little to no feeling in my hands yet. I made it home and I couldn't resist opening the box and looking at my new purchases.

My new PS4. Isn't she lovely?

Then, knowing how strained the PlayStation Network would be that night, I closed the box up and went to sleep. I woke up an hour later than my normal time and managed to make it to work only about 30 min late. 

Let's be real here, I just phoned it in at work today. Thankfully, I'm just working on some tutorial video scripts so it's not too mentally taxing or vital, because I wouldn't be able to handle that today. Now, after work, the plan is to go home, get the PS4 updated and connected and linked to everything and start playing. Right after I take a nap. Eh, who am I kidding? With my roommate's kids running around fully rested, I'm not going to get any sleep.

In the end, doing this midnight launch was a worthwhile experience. I shouldn't have done it, but I'm glad I did. Or at least, I will be when I get some more sleep and start playing the PS4. This was an insane impulse buy, my dear readers. Have you done one? Did you get a PS4? Have any comments on my little trek? Sound off below!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on joining the future, man!

    Although, why would you get one now when there are hardly any good games for it? Well, I guess Assassin's Creed IV is pretty fantastic. But you haven't even played the previous 5 games in that series, if I'm not mistaken, right? And, to be honest, it really doesn't look all that much better compared to current gen versions on PS3 and 360.

    Well, now you have to come back and let us know how it's going with the new system. There are all these stories about defective units and wobbly cases running rampant. Not to mention the total cluster fuck that hit the PSN on launch day. Did you ever get to connect to the network yet?

    As you can see, inquiring minds want to know! Well, okay, just me. :) I won't be getting my own PS4 until next year. Mostly likely when Metal Gear V comes out. Or Uncharted 4 toward the end of 2014. Until then, no other games are worth it, and I still have my PS3 keeping me great company in the meantime. I got Grand Theft Auto V and Beyond: Two Souls to get through still. Not to mention new episodes of the Walking Dead game are going to be released starting in January. Can't wait for that!